What would you give for a cup of water?

By Dr. Steven J. Callis

Those who have seen me would not immediately think, ‘basketball player,’ but I played point guard at the University of Arkansas; woo pig sooie! (I have no idea what that means, so I hope it is okay to print it!) My mom thought I looked cute in my little red uniform. By the way, I did not play ‘for’ the Razorbacks, but ‘at’ the university’s basketball arena.

At 8 years of age I was selected for the basketball all-star team in Fort Smith. We had the privilege of playing an exhibition during halftime at one of the Razorback’s games. Our team was divided in two, the Pros and the Keds. I am most certain that we wowed the crowd with our basketball prowess.

The Pros wore green, the Keds were dressed in red. This 60 mile trip was a big deal for 8 and 9 year old boys. How much trouble could an 8 year old kid (Ked!) cause in such a short trip, right?

One outstanding memory of that experience was being in the locker room where the real basketball players dress and shower. We each had our own gym bag, as we called them in those days, and carried it to the locker room to put on our uniforms. As we were exiting, I noticed a candy dispenser on the wall by the exit door. Assuming no one would mind, I grabbed a handful of those little yellow candies and shoved them in my mouth as we made our way to the basketball court.

I cannot tell you all the repercussions of that decision, suffice to say that those candies actually were salt tablets, and my body was not prepared for what was about to happen! I especially remember the flushed face and the desperate desire to rid my mouth of that taste, and there are no water fountains out on the basketball floor!

From that experienced I learned that what looks like candy may not necessarily be candy at all. I also learned a little about influence; the boy behind me decided he would have some candy, too! And I learned (eventually) that water is a precious commodity that should never be taken for granted.

One source claims that there is enough fresh water on our planet to adequately serve 7 billion people. It is reported, however, that 783 million people do not have access to clean water and almost 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation, and 6 to 8 million people die annually from the consequences of disasters and water-related diseases.

In our culture of insatiable desire to want more than what we have, the simple blessing of being able to have a drink of water at the push of a button or at the turn of a handle is overlooked. Let’s be thankful for what we have, and at the same time, prayerful and compassionate towards those who are forced to live without the basic human needs to sustain life, and supportive of those legitimate organizations that are working to defeat the unfortunate tragedy of water scarcity.

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